Saturday, 27 February 2016


Hello, I just wanted to let you know that I will be round to read and comment on your five on Friday posts, but I am rather icky right now.  Thank you so much for joining in.  I hope that you are all well and having a good weekend.  See you soon.  Amy.  xx

Friday, 26 February 2016

Five On Friday

Thank you all so much for making last weeks anniversary Five On Friday such a great success!!! It was so wonderful of so many of you to take part!!  I think that you were kind enough to leave the most comments on any of my Five On Friday posts ever, and it was most certainly the highest number of linked up posts!

The success is all down to you all taking part and I do thank you so very much!!  Here's to another great year ahead of us all linking up, joining in, having fun and getting to know each other more and make new friends.  I want you all to know that you are very special people!!!

I have drawn for the giveaway and the winners will be announced further down the post.  For now though, on with todays five things!


Do you remember that last year I was asked to make some shawls to go into Lady Iliffe's bedroom at Basildon Park to protect some of the soft furnishings?  The room has been closed over the winter for conservation work and deep cleaning and has just reopened.  The shawls are now in place, doing their furniture protection job and I thought you might like to see them.

This is a dark green, and goes well I think with the colours in the tapestry cushion.

The other shawl - which is really hard to photograph! - is on the arm of the chaise.

You might remember that I showed you this last year when I finished it.  It is lovely to see it in place.  I will be working on making the pattern available in due course.

I think that both shawls look lovely - of course I am biased! - and quite natural and relaxed, but will hopefully do their job of protecting the furniture at the same time.

Isn't the bed fabulous!  It is in a lovely alcove.  I mentioned some conservation work that was done.  You can see in the picture below that there is a stripe of brighter pink wallpaper.  Last year there was a leak in the gutter and some water got in and caused some damage.  Luckily there are some spare pieces of paper and this one has now been hung.  Although the colour is different, it is the same paper and in time it will blend in more.  Also it tells the story of the continuing conservation of the house.


I have tried on several occasions before to photograph this and never got a good shot, but this week on my way to photograph the shawls I managed to get a good picture.

Last year the Iliffe family donated some of Lady Charlotte Iliffe's collection of textiles.  She was the mother in law of our Lady Iliffe.  These are some of the pieces which are on display.  They are so delicate and beautiful!


It was a busy week at Basildon Park this week.  When I arrived for work on Wednesday there was a great big crane outside with a big cherry picker coming out of the top.  They were checking the roof and gutters and so on.  One of the other jobs they were going to do was to try and remove this birds nest which is way up high and cannot be reached.

You can just see the nest below.  It is tucked up high under the portico in a place where there are wires to stop birds nesting.  It seems that these ones were not deterred though.  The nest isn't used, but needs to be taken down.

The cherry picker couldn't get in to get it so they will have to try something else!


All of my tulips from valentines have sadly had to go to flower heaven and everywhere looked very bereft!  So I decided to sort that out.  I picked a few snowdrops from the garden.  Only a little display but still very beautiful.

They also make a beautiful subject for photographing.  The markings and veins in the petals are so beautiful and delicate aren't they.


I didn't know if I would have the finished garlands made for this weeks posts, but I do!  This is what they look like.  I do hope you will like them.  Pattern available here.

Last night I put all the names into my big teacup, and after some checking to make sure that the right comments had been made and links joined up correctly, two winners were drawn.

For the post link up the winner is Chel from Sweetbriar Dreams whose post you can find here if you haven't already read it.

For the comments the winner is Jan from Jan's Ramblings who went visiting and commenting and who also added her own post which you can find here.

Please contact me within one week ladies with your name and address and I will send your garlands to you!

Thank you all again for taking part, joining in, linking up, visiting and commenting and all of the other lovely things that you all do.  I do so appreciate it and I know that the people who take part really appreciate you visiting their posts too.

I hope that you all have great plans for your weekend.  I am not sure what I will be doing, but I definitely plan on getting out for a walk if I can.  I also think that I might need to do some crocheting as apart from the garlands that I made for the giveaway I haven't really done any for a while and I am missing it.

Whatever we do will depend on Hubby feeling better - or not!  Thank for the good wishes for him from yesterday, we both appreciated them.  He does seem to have passed it on to me now...  such a charming fellow to have shared!!!

Have a great time whatever you are doing and I hope that the sun shines on you!


p.s. just a reminder, the link up time returns to normal this week and the link will close at 7pm tomorrow evening - Saturday.  Also, all posts must include a link back to this post.

Thank you - as always! - for joining in and for going to read others posts.

If you want to grab a Five On Friday Button or get more information about how to join in the All About Five On Friday page will tell you all that you need to know.


Thursday, 25 February 2016

They Came to Baghdad

Today is an odd sort of day so far.  I have been all off kilter from my usual routine.  I was supposed to be going to visit Lady today, but I have Hubby at home sick with a coldy flu bug type of thing, so I don't want to go and see Lady and give the bug to her.  We have talked on the phone instead and she is OK.

My normal way of doing things has gone.  That is OK, it will come back and I am glad that Hubby hasn't gone to work and is working on getting better instead.  He will be fine.

I got up early and did some work as I normally do and then went to keep Hubby company for a bit.  I didn't realise until today when my normal routine was interrupted that I had actually already developed a routine for working as it has only been a few weeks really since I started with doing things the way that I am now.

That is a good thing though isn't it - that I have a routine - it must mean that I am doing something right. 

I don't mind having my routine interrupted by a sick husband, or a visit to Lady, but I did mind the other interruption I had this morning.  Someone telephoning claiming to be calling from Microsoft to help me out...  I pointed out that they were a scam artist and that their call was illegal and told them the police were monitoring our phone line.  I have found from past experience that the police monitoring the line bit is the quickest way to stop scammers from calling!  Not my idea, I borrowed it from someone else.  Hubby said I was a bit "fierce" with them on the phone.  I said that I wasn't sure that it mattered with a telephone con artist!!

Anyway, now I am trying to get back to it and get some work done!!

I decided to tidy up my very messy desk - did you see the photo I posted earlier in the week! - and found this book waiting for me to write my review of it, so here goes!

This year my reading has been off to a slow start, I have only finished two books so far - although that does make me ever so slightly ahead of schedule for reading at least one book a month I suppose!

As you know I have many Agatha Christie books to read and the latest one I have finished is this, They Came to Baghdad

It was totally different than any of the other Agatha Christies that I have read before which have either been Poirot or Miss Marple stories or books of her short stories.  This was a whole story in one book, but neither Poirot or Miss Marple featured.

The story centred around Victoria Jones who doesn't actually feature right at the beginning of the book though.  I found the start hard to get into, but once Victoria came into the picture it was easier to follow things as she carried the tale along.  There is a great mystery, no one really knows who is behind it, but people keep disappearing and being killed, is the mysterious Anna Scheele behind it all, or should we be looking for someone else.

What does Dr Pauncefoot Jones have to do with the story, or is it Mrs Hamilton Clipp that we need to be wary of.  The culprit surely couldn't be anyone else.  Or could it?

Victoria meets and falls immediately in love with Edward who is travelling to Baghdad for business, Victoria must find a way to follow him.  As she does she finds that she has landed in a mystery and intrigue that will not be resolved until the very end of the story.  No one is who they appear, and what is actually going on.

Once I got into the book and figured out who all the main characters were it was an interesting read and an enjoyable book, although until I had read the first 40 or so pages I wasn't at all sure about it and considered abandoning it more than once.  I had no idea "who done it" or how or why!  So I was pleased when it was all resolved at the end.

I would recommend it as an Agatha Christie read, just bear with it!  I am pleased that I have read this book, and I am now embarking on another Agatha read which is a book of short stories.  I will report next month no doubt!!

I will not be keeping this book to read again because I am passing all of these onto the charity shop when I finish them, but I am sure that someone else will enjoy it.

Having written this I feel much more into my routine again so I better go and do some work now.  Don't forget that today is the last day to either include your Five On Friday post for the anniversary giveaway or to go and read at least three other Five On Friday posts, leave a comment and then come back and leave me a comment telling me that you are joining in.  There are two prizes on offer.  Entries close at 7pm this evening, I will announce the winners in my Five On Friday post tomorrow.

Hope you are all having a good day and are settled into your own routines!


p.s. I forgot to say, you can find all my book reviews by clicking on the Reading My Books page which is at the top right of the sidebar.

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Half Granny Square

Last week I showed you how to make a basic Granny Square and said that I would share some variations with you.  Today, I have the Half Granny Square.  This is useful if you are working with any sort of staggered pattern.

I will take you through the tutorial first of all.  There is a written pattern and chart at the end of this post.  All instructions are in English Terms, but remember there are conversion charts available, you can find them via the links in the sidebar under Crochet Patterns and Tutorials.

Begin making the square as per the basic Granny Square.  Chain 4, Slip Stitch into the first Chain.

Then, as per the basic square Chain 2 (counts as first Treble) and then 1 Treble into the ring.  However, only do 1 Treble instead of 2.

Chain 2, Treble 3 into the ring, Chain 2 and Treble 2 into the ring. 

Your piece should now look like this and should comprise the CH4 ring, CH2 counting as a TR, TR1, CH2, TR3, CH2, TR2.

You then need to turn your work over, and you will work back in the opposite direction to make the second round of the work.  Chain 2, counts as first TR

Work 3 Trebles into the chain two space of the previous round.  Chain 2, Treble 3 into the same space.  Work 3 Trebles into the next chain two space of the previous round, Chain 2, Treble 3 into the same space.

Treble 1 into the space between the last two TR's of previous round.

Your piece should now look like this and this round should comprise CH2 counting as a TR, TR3, CH2, TR3, TR3, CH2, TR3, TR1.

Again you need to turn the work over to work the next round.

Chain 2 to count as first Treble.  Treble into the space between the first Treble and the group of three trebles of the previous round.

Treble 3 into the chain two space of the previous round, Chain 2, Treble 3 into the same chain two space.

Treble 3 into the space between the next group of the three trebles in the previous round.

Treble 3 into the chain two space of the previous round, Chain 2, Treble 3 into the same chain two space.

Treble 2 into the space between the last group of three trebles and the last single treble of the previous round.

Your work should now look like this and this round should comprise CH2 counting as a TR, TR3, CH2, TR3, TR3, TR3, CH2, TR3, TR2.

You can see that this block is about 7 cm's long and is about 3.5 cm's wide.  This is will therefore work as a half block in your larger piece of work.

To continue, keep working round, turn the work at the end of each round.  Alternate the rounds by starting the first one with two Trebles, then the next round should be started and ended with one Treble and so on.

The pattern for this block is as follows

CH4 ring, SS into first CH to form ring.

Round One - CH2 counting as a TR, TR1, CH2, TR3, CH2, TR2.  Turn work over.

Round Two - CH2 counting as a TR, TR3, CH2, TR3, TR3, CH2, TR3, TR1.  Turn work over.

Round Three - CH2 counting as a TR, TR3, CH2, TR3, TR3, TR3, CH2, TR3, TR2.

Repeat rounds two and then three to make the half square bigger turning the work at the end of each round.

When the half square is as big as you want it to be tie off the work, sew in the ends and use the piece.

This is the chart which should help!

Enjoy making and using your half squares.


Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Hoop Art

You all know my hoop art picture of a big red heart that I made for Valentines Day last year.  I used it as part of last years mantel display and then I have had it on a shelf in my office all year looking pretty.  At the moment it is back on the mantel.

When I made that piece it was an experiment really.  I had not made anything like it before, but was inspired by one that Chel from Sweetbriar Dreams had made.  Thank you for the inspiration Chel.

As you know I now have a lovely floor standing frame for my tapestry and other needlework so I didn't need the hoop frames that I had anymore and decided that I could use one to make my own hoop art picture.  After some trial and error I worked out what I wanted to do and hey presto, my lovely heart was born!

Many of you have said how much you admire the piece that I made and that got me thinking about making some more.   Of course I needed to get some more frames and had to decide what I wanted to actually make.  More hearts, or something else.

I found some wonderful frames that are actually plastic, there is an inner ring which you place the fabric over and then you stretch the outer rubbery ring - which is a terrible description! - over the fabric and inner ring and it just magically pulls the fabric taut and into place.  They are very clever.

The other advantage of these hangers is that they are a lovely wood grain effect, are very soft so they will not scratch or damage anything, and they come with a lovely antique brass effect hanger.  I was so pleased with this find.

Then of course I had to decide what to make.  I decided on two different hearts, one very similar to my original with red buttons to make a solid heart, and one with an outline of little white buttons.  Both on the same Liberty Inspired floral fabric backing as I used for mine.

On a different theme, I also decided to make a couple that were suitable for Easter.  Both are made using some lovely pastel buttons.  One sewn onto a white fabric and the other a pale pink gingham effect.

All of the buttons are handsewn on.  Some of you asked in the past if I glued them.  I imagine that you could if you had the right sort of glue etc, but I don't think it would look as pretty and I think sewing them on gives a much nicer finish.

I also wanted the backs to be as lovely as the front, so I cut the excess fabric to a circle shape and ran a running stitch around to gather it all in and keep it flat.  Then I handsewed a piece of cream felt to the back to make everything tidy and also to protect any surface that the picture hangs against.

I now have four lovely finished pictures!  I am so happy with them, they are just the right size and are even better than my original.

If you are interested in owning one, they are listed for sale in my Etsy shop which you can find here.  If you would like one yourself, but in a different design, colour etc, e-mail me and we can discuss your requirements and I can make you a custom picture.

I should really pack these away for safekeeping until they are purchased, but for today they are going to sit on my desk so that I can admire them while I work on a pattern design, a tutorial for tomorrow and the garlands for the Five On Friday giveaway - which you still have time to enter!

Thank you for loving these pictures, you have inspired me to do more and get better at making them and I do love that!


Monday, 22 February 2016

What I did this weekend

I didn't actually leave the house this weekend!  I seem to have been so busy though and I have got a lot done on my latest tapestry adventure.  Mostly I have been reading and commenting on your wonderful Five On Friday posts!  Thank you so very much for joining in, it was really wonderful of you to take part, to comment, to go visiting and commenting!

I really am so thankful and so grateful and do appreciate all of your efforts.  I know that we all have a lot of demands on our time, so taking time out to do this is a commitment I realise and I do appreciate it.

So far 55 posts have been linked up - the most ever! - and you still have until Thursday evening to join in with your own post - which must be about five things and must link back to my Five On Friday post - or to go and visit other posts and let me know you have done that.  Then you will be entered into the two giveaways for my heart garlands.  Which I must get crocheting!!

Thank you!!!

Going back to the tapestry, currently I am working on my Hug cushion by Emily Peacock.  You start in the middle and work outwards, so the first letter to be completed was the U.

This weekend I finished the G.

Then I started on the H!

This is a slightly wonky view of where I am so far with it.  There is a lot of background still to do and a border, then I have another one to go with it which is the Kiss.  So I am a way off finishing, but getting there and really enjoying it.

I am not enjoying the counting of the stitches though, I am finding it really hard and keep having to go back and fix bits which is very frustrating.  For the Kiss I might try and work out a better way of doing it.  Up to now I have had threads marking points running all over the place and that got me more confused so I might write onto the canvas in my disappearing ink pen instead.

Hubby has still be busying working our (his really because I just say what I want and he is doing the doing!) current DIY project.  The dryer has now moved upwards - which is so much easier to get into now! - and there is a new bottom cupboard which is great and gives a lot more space.  Plus, my vases can live on top of the dryer - when I move them that is.

There is still a way to go, but I will keep showing you the progress as it happens.  One thing I really need to do is to buy a new doormat!  This one isn't washable...

Today I am late posting - it is 11.15 am as I have been busy working this morning although that wasn't what I intended to do!  I sat down to check e-mails and then started to fiddle and before I knew it I had made this!

This is headed for my Etsy shop, when I have the other three made - today perhaps? - I will update the shop and let you know that they are in for sale.

While I am talking of my shop, I wanted to mention something else.  I realised when calculating the price for these that I made a mistake on the other items in my shop in the pricing, and more specifically to do with the postage.  I will be correcting it.  So if you looked before and thought the things were expensive, I will be revising the prices to correctly account for the postage, so perhaps that will entice you more!  I hope that my error hasn't offended anyone.  It is all part of the learning process for me.

On the subject of apologies, I started out by mentioning that so many of you have been lovely enough to join in Five On Friday.  Because of that I have just been overwhelmed with post reading and commenting myself and going back and forth on various things.  So please accept my apologies for not commenting on your other posts.  I have read all of the posts on all of the blogs that I follow, but I just cannot always comment on every one.

I follow over 300 blogs - because I try and follow all of your blogs if I can! - so it just isn't possible to comment on them all all of the time anymore.  I wish that I could, and it really upsets me that I cannot do it.  If I did, I would do nothing else all day than read and comment on blogs - which would give me no time to do anything to blog about!

I will continue to read your posts and will always comment when I can, but if I don't, please don't think that I am ignoring you, I'm really not!  This isn't to say that I am stopping commenting, but please bear with me if I don't get to comment on every one of your posts, that is all.

Also, in the past I have talked about replying to comments, again, time prevents me from replying to every comment, and often bloggers are - because they want to retain some privacy I imagine - no reply so I cannot reply directly anyway.  I wanted you all to know that if I don't reply it isn't because I haven't read or don't value your comments.  I read every single one and I value every single one too.  You are all so lovely to comment.  Thank you!!  Instead of replying, I try and visit all of your blogs and comment - which is why I follow so many blogs!

That is a very long explanation, but with new followers lately, thank you for joining in here!, I wanted to explain to you and also to remind any longer term readers who might not be sure how I handled things.

I will shut up and now and go away!  I have things to do and get on with and I am sure you do too.

Hope that you all have a wonderful week ahead!

Today I am linking with Karen at Pumpkin Sunrise to share what I did this weekend and Julies Lifestyle for Cooking and Crafting with J&J.


Sunday, 21 February 2016

Sunlit Sunday

As bloggers we take a lot of photographs and probably delete many too, even then we are left with a lot of pictures that we delight in sharing.

I am just like that, I take a lot, delete a lot and share a lot too.  For the most part I only share photos that I like and am happy with, occasionally there is one that I "need" for some reason to show that isn't so good.

Sometimes though I get to share a photo that isn't only one that I like and am happy with.  I get to share one that I absolutely love.

Last year I shared this picture taken in St Ives, Cornwall.  It was just another snap when I took the picture, but when I reviewed them and looked back I just fell in love with it.  I often think back to this photo.  The warm sun on our backs as we wandered around the town.  The relaxing time we had.  No where particular to be or to go.

Not only do I love this photo, I love the memories that it brings.

This is definitely a sunlit moment for me!  Literally, and metaphorically too.

Today I am joining Karen at My Little Home and Garden for Sunlit Sunday.


Friday, 19 February 2016

Five On Friday

Comments are now closed and no further Five On Friday posts can be linked to this post.  Winners of the giveaways will be announced in the Five On Friday post on 26 February 2016.  Thank you for your entries.

Hello!  Welcome to the First Anniversary of Five On Friday!!!!!!

I am so very excited!!!  It has been 12 months since I started the Five On Friday weekly link up party!!!

Thank you ALL for making this such a great success, more people than ever are taking part in the link up, commenting, visiting posts and doing all the fun things that a link up is all about.  Which is the point of the whole thing really isn't it.

Five On Friday originally started with just little me writing the occasional post, on a Friday, containing five things.  Then I noticed a few other people posting similar posts so I asked if anyone else would like to make it more official and join in.  I was overwhelmed with the response and we soon started little groups of people posting on a Friday and sharing their five things.

That was all great, but more people asked if they could join in, and then a few more and it got too big so I just opened it up to everyone and here we are a year later after starting the link up and it is going so well.

I really am so grateful to you all, more than you will ever know I suspect and more than I can explain to you.  This would truly be nothing without YOU!!! 

THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

THANK YOU too just for being there all year round, every day, Friday or not as well.  You really do mean so much to me, the fact that you stop by, your kindness, your own wonderful posts, everything.  I would be nothing without you.  At the risk of going all mushy you are the wind beneath my wings and my encouragement to keep blogging.

I am sorry for my first post yesterday, I hope that it hasn't sent you all running for the hills.  Please don't leave, and please don't do anything about your pins.  I will fix something up next week so that you can pin, but not the things I don't want you to, after all the onus is on me, not you.  Don't delete anything that you have already pinned!!!

Keep being wonderful, I love you all!!!

By way of sharing some thanks I am going to give away two of my crochet heart garlands to YOU! 

One will be for the people who link up a post this week.  In order to give you lots of time to take part this week I will leave the link up open until 7pm UK time on Thursday 25th February - all week effectively.  Simply by leaving your link to your Five On Friday post - that must link back to this post also - you will be taking part.  You don't need to do anything else.

The other will be for the people who go and comment on others posts.  Simply go and visit at least three of the other posts and leave a comment on those posts.  Then come back and leave me a comment telling me that you have commented and would like to take part in the giveaway.  To be fair, I will check that you have commented, but you have all week to do it.

Both draws will close at 7pm UK time on Thursday 25th February 2016.  I will then draw the winners and tell you who they are in next weeks Five On Friday post.  If you do not claim your garland by e-mailing me within 1 week I will draw again.  Open to all participants around the world.  You can take part in both draws.

Your garland will be slightly different from the one pictured, the yarn is a slightly darker shade of pink, but will include five hearts.  I may need a couple of days to get them out to you as I haven't actually made them yet which is why the photo is of a different garland!

THANK YOU  all again so very much.  The success of this venture is down to you as much as me, we are nothing without each other!  I appreciate and love you all!!!

Hope you have a wonderful weekend!


Thank you - as always! - for joining in and for going to read others posts.

If you want to grab a Five On Friday Button or get more information about how to join in the All About Five On Friday page will tell you all that you need to know.